By Christian Talbot, President of MSA-CESS
Recently my colleague Glen Mort and I met with two former heads of school, both now working for an agency that supports schools around the world.
They asked us to describe some of the challenges that are keeping us up at night.
We mentioned our recent internal work exploring “tectonic forces” that are reordering the world—massive global demographic shifts, migration due to climate change and political unrest, “always on” technology, and more.
They wondered: How do those tectonic forces affect the way we think about the work of Middle States?
“Every school must evolve in light of these forces at play,” I said, “which means that it is the job of every school leader to facilitate change.”
That imperative to facilitate change lies at the heart of Michael Horn’s From Reopen to Reinvent.
Tectonic forces often lead organizations to adopt a posture of “threat rigidity.” When this happens, as Horn writes, “an organization doubles down on its existing processes or routines. That results in more top down control; reduced experimentation […] and a focus on an organization’s existing resources, rather than questioning what else it might use to respond to the threat.”
At Middle States, we know that “what got us here won’t get us there” in the face of tectonic forces. So, like Horn, we are focusing on school evolution. We accomplish this most obviously through accreditation, but in this “Year of the Middle States Network” we are creating new ways to encourage and empower school leaders to facilitate change.
All of us working in or with schools are leading change now, whether we like it or not. You can count on Middle States to be with you on every step of that journey.